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Goal Line Report

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Time To Take Control

This is what the New York Rangers need to do tonight in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Finals series with the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden.

With the Blueshirts coming off a 3-0 victory in Game 1 and the 1-0 series lead, the Rangers should try and do everything they can to take control of this series. Through the first two rounds, it never felt like the Rangers had the series well within their grasp and while this series is in no way easy for the team, they should be able to grab control of this series in a hurry if things go their way.

For starters, Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist is more than just on top of his game. While he did not face as many shots (21) as Devils’ Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur (27) did, Lundqvist made the big saves when he had to and was especially good in the second period when he made 10 saves, many of them of the difficult variety.

Secondly, the team has its forechecking game going again. This was evident on the team’s first goal by Dan Girardi when Chris Kreider got to the puck first and fed Girardi for the one timer and it was also apparent as the team won many puck battles along the boards.

It should also be mentioned just how good the Rangers’ defense has been in their last two games. The team held the Devils to just 21 shots in the game and 4 in the last period on Monday night in Game 1 and in Game 7 on Saturday night against the Washington Capitals in the third period, they held up the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich, Marcus Johansson, and Mike Green and gave them very little room to maneuver or shoot the puck.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, brooks+laich, chris+kreider, dan+girardi, henrik+lundqvist, marcus+johansson, martin+brodeur, mike+green, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, washington+capitals

Rangers’ Power Play Comes Through When It Matters Most

The New York Rangers power play for what seems like the first time all year long was a huge factor in their 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5 against the Washington Capitals at Madison Square Garden.

Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal scored a power play goal just 1:35 into overtime to take a 3-2 series lead. For the Rangers, the play was simple as they won the face-off back to the point and Staal just put the puck on net, which is what a team is supposed to do when they have the man advantage. 

However, this game looked like it was going to end up a 2-1 Capitals win. However, Capitals’ forward Joel Ward took an ill-timed high-sticking double minor with 22 seconds to go on Rangers’ forward Carl Hagelin.

The Blueshirts were able to capitalize on the first part of the power play with 6.6 seconds to go when Brad Richards scored off of Callahan’s third shot past Braden Holtby to tie the game up. For now at least, this goal will go down as Richards’ biggest goal as a Blueshirt.

When overtime started, the team still had over a minute to go on the power play and again, the team was able to come through. If there was ever a time for the team’s power play to start clicking, it was this game. On both goals, the team threw plenty of pucks on Holtby, which again, is something that a team is supposed to do on the power play.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, brad+richards, braden+holtby, carl+hagelin, joel+ward, john+carlson, marc+staal, mike+green, mike+rupp, new+york+rangers, philadelphia+flyers, washington+capitals

Late Penalty Hurts Blueshirts Again in Game 4 Loss to Capitals

Much like it did in Game 2 at Madison Square Garden, a late penalty taken by the New York Rangers turned into the game-winning goal for the Washington Capitals in a 3-2 win in Game 4 at the Verizon Center.

This time, the culprit for the Blueshirts was Carl Hagelin. Hagelin took a two minute slashing penalty and Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green took advantage and ripped a slap shot past Rangers’ goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

For the Rangers, this game was a tale of two different teams. On one side, the Rangers’ played like a team that would rely on its goaltender Lundqvist to make timely save after timely save as well as a team that had no offense to supply.

On the other side, the Rangers played like a club that was willing to go to the net, get goals from the dirty areas and play disciplined hockey. Unfortunately for the Rangers, neither of these teams prevailed as the series will now head back to the Garden for Game 5 tied at two games apiece.

On the bright side, the team got a great performance from Artem Anisimov. Anisimov, who had been quiet for much of these playoffs, picked-up a goal and an assist and was more than present in this hockey game.

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  Tags: 2012+stanley+cup+playoffs, artem+anisimov, carl+hagelin, henrik+lundqvist, marian+gaborik, mike+green, new+york+rangers, ottawa+senators, washington+capitals

Well Deserved Playoff Berth and What They Need to do to Win

This can definitely be said when it comes to this year’s New York Rangers.

It was a roller coaster season for the Blueshirts that featured lots of injuries, some untimely losses as well as some inconsisten play. With that said, however, there was a lot more good than bad from the Rangers this season, which is why there is a possibility that they can make a long run in this year’s postseason.

To beat the No. 1 seed Washington Capitals, you have to first look at Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. It is more than likely that Lundqvist will face a barrage of shot in the first round from the likes of Alexander Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Arnott, Mike Knuble, Mike Green, John Carlson and others. Luckily for the Rangers’, Henrik was quite good against the Capitals this season in shutting them out twice and winning another.

The team will also need to get timely goal scoring. Guys like Brandon Dubinsky, Marian Gaborik, Vinny Prospal, Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan, Brian Boyle and even Brandon Prust will have to do everything they can to put the puck in the net.

This is especially true because the team will be without their heart and soul player, Ryan Callahan. Callahan was instrumental on the team’s power play, penalty kill and knew how to score when the team needed it the most. Certainly a big piece of the puzzle to replace at such an important time.

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  Tags: alex+semin, alexander+ovechkin, artem+anisimov, brandon+dubinsky, brandon+prust, brian+boyle, dan+girardi, derek+stepan, henrik+lundqvist, jason+arnott, john+carlson, marian+gaborik, mike+green, mike+knuble, new+york+rangers, nicklas+bakcstrom, vinny+prospal, washington+capitals

Blueshirts Get the Job Done Against the Capitals

When New York Rangers’ fans heard that Martin Biron was starting last night against the Washington Capitals, they all thought that head coach John Tortorella was giving the game away and hoping to pick up two points tonight against the Panthers.

As it turns out, they were wrong and the Blueshirts came away with a 2-1 shootout victory, thanks partly to some timely goaltending from Biron and a terrific defensive effort. The defense held the Capitals to just 23 shots and did a solid job of keeping the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green, Mike Knuble and others quiet on their way to another road victory.

Fifty-two minutes into the game, the Rangers were down 1-0 until Marian Gaborik tied it up when a Dan Boyle shot ffrom the top of the circle hit off Capitals’ netminder Braden Holtby and then deflected off Gaborik’s shoulder and in. It may not have been Gaborik’s prettiest goal but it was a goal that the team needed and a goal that will hopefully get Gaborik going offensively on a consistent basis.

In the shootout, the team got two great goals from Mats Zuccarello (4/4 in the shootout this season and in his career) and the eventual game winning goal from Artem Anisimov, his first ever shootout goal, giving the team its second straight shootout victory.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, artem+anisimov, brandon+holtby, dan+boyle, florida+panthers, john+tortorella, marian+gaborik, martin+biron, mats+zuccarello, mike+green, mike+knuble, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, washington+capitals

Lundqvist Leads the Blueshirts to 3-1 Series Lead

Its been said by hockey pundits and experts that you need goaltending to win in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Case in point: Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers.

Thanks to Lundqvist’s 38 saves last night, the New York Rangers beat the Washington Capitals by a score of 2-1 in Game four to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. He was not only able to stop initial shot attempts, but he was also able to stop rebound attempts and frustrate the likes of Alex Ovechkin (who scored the Caps only goal), Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green.

Through four games in this series, Lundqvist has stopped an incredible 141 of 149 shots, good enough for a 2.00 goals against average, .946 save percentage and one shutout. Simply put, Lundqvist is the main reason why the Blueshirts are one victory away from eliminating the Capitals in the first round.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, henrik+lundqvist, mike+green, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, rangers+reading, washington+captials

Keep it Going

Many hockey pundits and analysts figured that the Washington Capitals’ offense would dominate the New York Rangers in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, with two games in the books, the Blueshirts are up 2-0 with the next two games at Madison Square Garden.

Surprised? I’m actually not because I’ve written before that if the team could shut down the Caps’ big guns and get timely goal scoring against the Caps’ suspect goaltending, this team would have a chance win.

Through two games, the Rangers have gotten 67 saves (on 70 shots) from their star netminder Henrik Lundqvist, lots of blocked shots by forwards and defensemen alike, and timely goal scoring from their young guys (Brandon Dubinsky and Ryan Callahan). For the Rangers, this spells s-u-c-c-e-s-s.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, brandon+dubinsky, henrik+lundqvist, mike+green, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, ryan+callahan, simeon+varlamov, washington+capitals

Thoughts Heading Into Game 2

Tomorrow afternoon at the Verizon Center, the New York Rangers look to go up 2-0 in their first round series against the Washington Capitals.

While the Blueshirts were able to pick up a 4-3 victory in Game one on Wednesday night, there are a few things that the team will most likely look to improve upon:

- Limiting Alex Ovechkin. In Game one, Ovechkin fired 13 shots at Rangers’ netminder Henrik Lundqvist. Luckily, the “King” was on his game.

- Staying out of the box. Markus Naslund was guilty of taking three penalties on Wednesday night. The last thing the Rangers’ want to do is give the Capitals power play time with lethal weapons such as Ovechkin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, and Sergei Fedorov.

- Face-offs. The Caps’ outclassed the Blueshirts in the face-off circle on Wednesday night. Hopefully, the return of captain Chris Drury will change that.

 

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, chris+drury, henrik+lundqvist, markus+naslund, mike+green, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, rangers+reading, sergei+federov, washington+capitals

All Eyes on The King

When the puck drops tomorrow night at the Verizon Center, all eyes will turn to New York Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist as the Blueshirts take on the Washington Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

If the Blueshirts are going to advance to the next round, the “King” will need to be at his best when he faces the likes of offensive machines Alex Ovechkin (56 goals, 54 assists, 110 points), Nicklas Backstrom (22 goals, 66 assists, 88 points), Alexander Semin (34 goals, 45 assists, 79 points) and stud defenseman Mike Green (31 goals, 42 assists, 73 points).

Lundqvist will face pucks from all angles and will have to steal at least one of the first two games of the series if the team wants to give themselves any kind of shot when the series shifts back to Madison Square Garden.

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  Tags: alex+ovechkin, alexander+semin, atlanta+thrashers, henrik+lundqvist, john+tortorella, mike+green, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, nicklas+backstrom, washington+capitals

The AHL: A Bargain for Great Hockey

For a person that has seen many, many National Hockey League games, it will probably come as a surprise to some of you that I had never been to an American Hockey League (AHL) game before, especially since I live within 150 minutes of two American Hockey League franchises: the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers farm team) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (New York Islanders farm team).

As I mentioned this past weekend, that all changed on Saturday night when I went to the XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center) to take in a Wolf Pack vs. Springfield Falcons (Edmonton Oilers farm team) game. However, as you also all know, I wasn’t able to enjoy the game from a fan’s perspective.

Instead, I got to enjoy it as a credentialed member of the media, covering the game for the Wolf Pack web site and boy was the game ever good. This game had it all: speed, great puck movement, solid goaltending, a fight, and hard hitting. All in all, it was just as good as an NHL game.

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  Tags: corey+perry, dan+girardi, hartford+wolf+pack, hershey+bears, jaroslav+halak, lowell+devils, marc-andre+fleury, mike+green, new+jersey+devils, new+york+islanders, new+york+rangers, springfield+falcons, washington+capitals

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